The Fast Approaches: Day Two Hundred Twenty One

The iconic image of Israeli soldiers shortly a... Yesterday, Bonnie took me aside and said:  "I hope you have a meaningful fast."  I'd never heard this before.  This is the time of year when people wish each other a happy and healthy New Year, and as tonight begins the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, the usual platitude is to wish someone an "easy fast."  I've never thought about having a meaningful fast and it probably wouldn't have struck a chord with me had I not been meditating for these past two hundred twenty one days.

Like everyone else I know who is Jewish, I dread the day of fast.  It's uncomfortable.  We get dehydrated, headachy, cranky, tired.  Services are long: there's the interminable standing, then sitting, then standing and standing and standing.  It's one day, but it's one very long day.

When I was sixteen years old I decided not to fast.  It was 1973 and I was in Israel as a high school exchange student.  That day was one of the first days I'd ever contemplated mortality and the precious nature of a life.  My stomach was not in protest, but on that Yom Kippur in 1973, fighter jets jettisoned across the the sky and I spent much of the day in a bomb shelter on the farm where I lived.  The day the Yom Kippur War began was the last day I decided not to fast.

Although, as always, I will miss my coffee (morning latte: I love you so much!), I will probably get grumpy and have bad breath, this year I will try to find the meaning of my day of atonement and my fast find me.

If you observe, I wish you a meaningful fast.